KENT DESORMEAUX, MISCHIEF CLEM, WINNER: “This was all Bob (trainer, Hess, Jr.) . . . We were pretty disappointed in his last effort; we’ve always been real high on him. Bob has been entering him in these head-hunting spots because we thought he was ‘all that.’ Every race we always seemed to have a quirk.
“The races just didn’t go well, none of them did. He’d either miss a start, hop a start, get stuck inside or last time, he was just too aggressive. In a nutshell, today he was finally able to put everything together and I was able to ride him off my finger tips and he was just the consummate professional and he a got a picture taken.”
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE, PULMARACK, SECOND: “He never switched to his right lead and I think that cost him. I think that was about it. I would rather have been where Kluszewski was (in front of us) but I was behind them so I had to go a little wide the whole way.
“I think his staying on the left lead mattered and he did hang a little with that other horse. I made a small move turning for home, then I held him again and I tried to let him run again but he just never responded. He did this at Los Al, too, in the King Glorious. I just think he’s still a little green. If he switches leads, he would win the race.”
BOB HESS JR., MISCHIEF CLEM, WINNER: “A wonderful job by Kent (Desormeaux). The horse has a ton of heart. I questioned his ability to go this far. I think he came through today, and I think more than anything, this is his home track. He loves it here. We were able to train him here, school him here; I didn’t do that last time, and it showed today.
“Last time he lost the race in the paddock–before the race. The two horse (Acceptance) is a wonderful horse. He didn’t run his best race today, but he’s a wonderful horse, so no disrespect to him at all. But our horse ran his A-plus race today.
“The one (Tough Sunday) kind of got in trouble out of the gate and that kind of changed the complexion of the race. I thought the one would go to the front, the two would lay second, I thought we’d be third. When the one broke slowly and got blocked, then it became more of a jockeys’ race, if you will.”
Asked what might be next: “If we think open company, it would be on the synthetic in March at Turfway ($550,000 Spiral, Grade III at 1 1/8 miles on March 21). Until then, we’ll figure out a plan of attack.”
KENNY BLACK (ASSISTANT TO DONALD WARREN), ACCEPTANCE, FOURTH: “He’s been training all right, but for whatever reason . . . we’ll probably find out tomorrow when we get back . . . hopefully he’s fine. He just hung it up for some reason. I’m sure we’ll find out tomorrow. Right now I’m a little bit mystified, because he had everything his own way. He got a little hot going to the gate today, so that’s a little concerning. He was working good and doing everything right; he just didn’t have it today, I guess.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Craig and Lorie Griffin of Phoenix, AZ.